Pacific unity at stake - Solomon Star News

Pacific unity at stake

16 February 2021
Pacific Islands Forum flags in Nauru. [Photo: New Zealand Herald/Jason Oxenham]

The fall out in the Pacific Island Forum is now a subject of concern and heavily discussed by our leaders in the region.

This happened after the members of the Micronesian Bloc decided to withdraw their members from PIF after their preferred candidate fail to secure the Secretary-General Seat.

The controversial appointment of Henry Puna as Secretary-General in a 9-8 vote during the recent special Leaders Meeting has splintered the Pacific Islands Forum.

They have been lobbying and calling for the seat to be offered to someone from Micronesia.

However, this did not go as expected.

Thus, frustrates the Micronesian Leaders.

Now five Micronesian have threatened to leave the Forum within a year if their candidate wasn’t appointed.

Since 2019, the Micronesian leaders have made it clear; it was their turn. 

The ‘Pacific Way’ required rotation of the SG’s position amongst the 3 different sub-regions and for the sub-regions of Polynesia and Melanesia to honor that agreement. It is a political decision.  

However, this did not eventuate.

We know that Pacific Islands Forum plays an important role in the region.

It is the region’s leading political and economic multilateral organisation, responsible for enabling cooperation and collaboration within its member states, and between its member states and the rest of the world. 

Globally PIF has been recognised.

If somewhere, the split comes into real effect, it's going to be a sad story.

The issue surrounding the expulsion of the University of the South Pacific (USP) Vice-Chancellor from Fiji is also not helpful to the Pacific’s unity.

In a time of uncertainty like this, the Pacific family needs to be together.

It's time our regional leaders most sort themselves out.

The last thing we want to see is fragmentation within the region.

Let's hope dialogue happens soon and solutions are reached.